The Disaster Artist
* * * * ½
The real-life friendship that spawned one of the most endearingly bad movies in history gets its own screen adaptation as the world witnesses a docudrama about the making of Tommy Wiseau's opus The Room.
The Disaster Artist is adapted from Greg Sestero's memoir of the same name. Both the film and the original book tell how Sestero (played by Dave Franco) met and befriended Wiseau (played by James Franco). The pair first met at a San Francisco acting class in 1998. Tommy's strange but fearless acting abilities managed to attract Greg. Soon, they headed out to Los Angeles together to seek fame.
Tommy eventually writes the script to The Room, which he also ultimately directed, produced and starred in. Greg serves as the film's line producer and co-star. The film's whole cast and crew, including Greg, script supervisor Sandy Schklair (played by Seth Rogen) and leading lady Juliette Danielle (played by Ari Graynor) are befuddled by Tommy's creative choices and erratic on-set behavior. Greg's new girlfriend Amber (played by Alison Brie) also causes tension between him and Tommy.
It's hard for me to gauge how viewers unfamiliar with The Room would react to The Disaster Artist. The cult following of the "so bad it's good" classic has become an unexpected, and perhaps insular, phenomenon. But those Wiseau neophytes will still likely be amused with James Franco's eerily accurate portrayal of the Bizarro World auteur. And while The Room faithful may not find Disaster Artist to be revolutionary, it is still a treat to see the creation of a grand cinematic train wreck recreated.
The film definitely portrays Tommy as the weirdo most people view him to be. At the same time, it also creates sympathy for him, his pursuit of Hollywood fame and, above all else, his friendship with Greg. We also see occasional clips of talking head interviews with celebrities and filmmakers like Kevin Smith and J.J. Abrams sharing their thoughts on The Room and Tommy.
The Disaster Artist is a fun ride and a character study of one of filmmaking's most unique madmen. If you are already obsessed with The Room, or are just a fan of unusual film history, then by all means see it. And don't leave before the credits end, okay? "Bye, Mark.”